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Manuel Pellegrini’s in-tray: what the new West Ham manager must tackle

The 2014 Premier League winner with Manchester City has to stiffen the defence, rebalance the squad and handle controversial owners

Manuel Pellegrini has said he wants to play football that will delight the fans but nobody will be smiling if West Ham’s defending does not improve. David Moyes settled on a 3-4-2-1 system because he did not trust his ponderous side to function properly in a more open formation. Yet it was a stop-gap manoeuvre and West Ham still finished with the Premier League’s joint-worst defensive record alongside relegated Stoke, conceding 68 goals. Pellegrini will need to sort out that weakness before thinking about a more expansive style. There have been too many humiliations in the past two seasons.

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